Total Noob questions on setup for computer and headphones
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Thread: Total Noob questions on setup for computer and headphones

  1. #1


    Join Date: Feb 2019
    Location: Rhode Island
    ME: Kiesel Vader 7x
    MA: Dominelli Double top
    Rig: Dual recitifier+rec-cab

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    Total Noob questions on setup for computer and headphones

    Hi all,

    I'm new (again) to electric guitar and unfortunately, my wife does not like hearing metal guitar so I'm going to have to spend most of my time playing through headphones and a MacBook. As a plus side, I can do this also in the early morning and evenings without offending neighbors. I'm totally new to this so I'm not sure of the following:

    • What interface to use into the MacBook?
    • Good recommendations for headphones
    • Apps/programs to use for different effects, amps, adding drumbeats/bass etc
    • Would I use a pre-amp/pedals going into the interface?
    • Am I missing something else?


    Thanks in advance for any information. If there is a how to guide somewhere as well, please feel free to point me to it.

    /edit I suppose I could have another method of driving headphones out going through the rig and inputing audio from the Mac into it as well? Currently I have a dual rectifier with an overdrive and noise gate.
    Last edited by Emile640; 05-21-2019 at 01:04 PM.

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  3. #2


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Santa Clara, CA
    ME: Rich Mahogany
    MA: Godin A6 Ultra
    MB: SR500
    Rig: Massive/Boobies

    iTrader: 16 (100%)

    You could get a Focusrite 2i4 or similar, they are quite easy to setup on a Mac. They also play very nicely with Reaper (recording program), which also can load any amp sim, drum sim, etc.

    Again, look to Ola Englund's YouTube channel. He goes into depth on a couple of these topics



    Per the headphones, AKG's are studio standards, but I think anything >$30 and closed/over-the-ear will get you most of the way to a great sound.

  4. #3


    Join Date: Jun 2009
    Location: Cph Airport
    ME: '87 Duesenberg
    Rig: MP-2 + TSR-24S + Vortex

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    Sounds like you'll be listening quite a lot on headphones, so make sure whatever interface has a good headphone amplifier in it.
    Unfortunately, too few reviews digs into the headphone output quality, so I'd suggest you ask around..

    While most decent phones initially sounds quite good, lack of a proper amplifier to drive them at very low distortion will easily fatigue your ears.
    As an example, driving my Beyer Dynamics DT770's (80 Ohm version) from an inferior output makes my ears 'ring' after two hours at not even loud levels.

    I can't make good recommendations to phones. The DT770's I have are fully closed and seals by some 17 dB; an advantage in noisy environments, but they aren't quite as detailed as many open-back phones.
    AKG, Sennheiser, Sony, ATC.. all make good headphones. Maybe bring some favorite CD's to a store for a listen.
    Know Thy Self. Know Thy Law. Do What Thy Willst

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  6. #4


    Join Date: Feb 2019
    Location: Rhode Island
    ME: Kiesel Vader 7x
    MA: Dominelli Double top
    Rig: Dual recitifier+rec-cab

    iTrader: 0

    Thank you much, Leon. I'll look for the vids of Ola talking about this, but there are a lot of vids to sort through. That interface and program look like great starting points. I can definitely up the budget on good headphones so I'll do some research. Thank you Vansinn as well for the info.
    Last edited by Emile640; 05-21-2019 at 06:28 PM.

  7. #5


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Santa Clara, CA
    ME: Rich Mahogany
    MA: Godin A6 Ultra
    MB: SR500
    Rig: Massive/Boobies

    iTrader: 16 (100%)

    https://www.positivegrid.com/bias-fx/

    BIAS is one program I've fooled around with a bit. I had it on my iPad for a while, and it was a fun practice rig that I could run nearly anywhere.

  8. #6


    Join Date: Nov 2011
    Location: Portugal

    iTrader: 0

    After getting Tinnitus (be careful with Headphones!!!) I started using exclusively my at work phones to play guitar as well. The BOSE QC line. They cancel outside Noise extremely well allowing you to play at much much lower volumes. Most of the times I'm playing so low volume I can hear myself breathing.

    Are they the best ones? Have no clue and care less to be honest.. I just want to save my ears more than anything... I should had done this years ago...

  9. #7


    Join Date: Jul 2013
    Location: Massachusetts
    ME: Jackson SLSMG
    Rig: Vox AC30S1

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    I recommend that initially you use GarageBand. It is on the MacBook free. I have been using a Focusrite Scarlett Solo interface the last few years with my 2013 MacBook Air. It cost me $ 100, and I have had no complaints about it. I think headphones choice is a personal thing. From 1981 to three years ago I used AKG D240F headphones. When they finally wore out, I got Grado Labs SR225e headphones which I have liked. I believe that I paid $ 200 for them, but I do not remember for sure. I remember that the owner of the audio store said that open headphones gave better performance than closed headphones. He said that unless a person needs complete silence (for example for use on an airplane), open headphones are the better choice.
    Last edited by Henry Terry; 05-23-2019 at 01:17 AM.

  10. #8


    Join Date: Nov 2015
    Location: PA, USA

    iTrader: 1 (100%)

    I have been using the Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1 USB interface for a good number of years - which has since been replaced by a newer model. I can tell you that it has excellent headphone audio quality and also records at very high bitrate/quality and low latency also. This coming from a guy who owns several moderately expensive headphone amps. I did use this with a Mac and Garageband a while back, I think drivers are older so you would want to check compatibility with any newer Mac OS. Audio Kontrol is dirt cheap used, like $50 or $60 - I can't vouch for the newer model and how it sounds, but it's very reasonably priced.

    For headphones, if you can spend $200 I would get 100% recommend getting the Sennheiser HD6xx (which is an unbadged HD650) from Massdrop. Very hard headphone to beat at any price point, it's just damn good all around and does not heavily color the sound or exaggerate the bass. It is open back, so not a totally 'quiet' headphone. For between $100-$150, the Audio-Technica M50x would be my next choice, which is closed-back. For around $50-$100, the Sony MDR-7506, also closed-back.

    Good luck!

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